The provincial government is applauding the latest jobs report from Statistics Canada, saying the improvement in the labour market between October 2017 and 2018 is the largest year-over-year increase Saskatchewan has seen in four years.
The StatCan numbers show the province created 9,400 jobs in that time span, with 5,700 full-time positions and 3,700 part-time positions created.
Saskatchewan also improved between September and October 2018, with the addition of 2,500 jobs and the reduction of the unemployment rate from 6.4 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
That unemployment mark is higher than it was in October 2017, when it sat at 5.9 per cent.
Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison told reporters Friday that overall, the report shows Saskatchewan is seeing a “pretty positive trend.”
“This is largely due to the work being done by those creating jobs, and we’ve seen pretty strong growth in private sector job creation,” he said.
Harrison said the stabilization of commodity prices are also partially responsible for the jobs improvement, though he noted there are still concerns in relation to the energy sector and pipeline capacity.
When asked about lagging economies in northern communities, the minister said the government is working with leaders to develop training programs to benefit people looking for employment.
However, he noted the north has been hit hard by a collapse in the international uranium market and by issues mining company Cameco has been having with the federal government.
“We encourage the Government of Canada to be engaged in that because it has a very direct impact on hundreds of folks, the majority of whom are Indigenous, working in that sector,” Harrison said.
He also expressed concerns about the impact a potential carbon tax would have on Saskatchewan’s economy and job market.
While the government doesn’t have estimates on potential job losses due to the carbon levy, he said the result could be “significant.”
“A carbon tax would have a highly detrimental effect on our labour market and a highly detrimental effect on our industry and broader economy,” he said.
Harrison pointed out 60 per cent of Saskatchewan’s economic activity is through exports, and a carbon tax would make businesses less competitive.
“A 10 per cent difference is the difference between producing that good in Saskatchewan and moving elsewhere,” he said.